Tag Archives: Karmenu Vella

European mobility awards to Vienna, Igoumenitsa and Turda

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “My congratulations to each of the award winners. Through their actions, Vienna, Igoumenitsa and Turda are creating a more sustainable Europe. They also help their residents to move around in a cleaner, healthier and more enjoyable way. It is my hope that these cities will inspire others to embrace the core message of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK – sustainable mobility is the right choice for everyone.”

The European Commission announced the winners of the 2017 European sustainable urban mobility awards at a ceremony held in Brussels. Vienna (Austria) received the EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK Award for large municipalities, while Igoumenitsa (Greece) won the inaugural prize in the ‘less than 50,000 inhabitants’ category. Turda (Romania) received the Award for Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. With 75% of Europeans living in cities, sustainable urban mobility is essential to the EU’s ambitious climate objectives and to tackle issues such as congestion, noise, and air pollution. The three cities were selected by an independent jury for their innovative solutions to promote sustainability. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: “Mobility Week gets bigger every year! More proof, year after year, that green is everyone’s favourite colour. Green means clean, it means convenient, and it means a city where people find it easy to go about their business. And best of all, it’s better for your health. My congratulations to these winners – they’ve understood what citizens really need.” 2017 was the most successful edition of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK to date, with over 2,500 towns and cities participating.

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€ 6 billion for EU maritime strategy in the Atlantic

“Identifying investment priorities with the involvement of regions and business can help generate sustainable growth in our coastal areas and drive forward the blue economy.With the action plan, the community of stakeholders in the Atlantic Ocean area has grown stronger and better at raising funds for marine and maritime projects. Said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner responsible for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries.

Half way through the implementation of the EU’s action plan  for a maritime strategy in the Atlantic, an independent study finds it has spurred over 1200 new maritime projects and nearly € 6 billion of investments so far. Most projects target environmental protection and innovation, as well as improved connectivity and social inclusion. Examples include the development of marine renewable energy in France or port facilities in Spain and Ireland, improved tourism infrastructure in Wales, as well as setting up broadband connectivity in remote areas of Scotland or remote health monitoring in Ireland. A number of projects financed by the EU’s action plan help facilitate the clean energy transition, as put forward by the Juncker Commission ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’, and contributes to the creation of the Energy Union. The Atlantic maritime action plan was launched in 2013 to boost the maritime economy of its five Atlantic States, (Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom and Ireland), and their outermost regions and funding comes from the EU (such as from the European Regional Development Fund, Horizon2020), the European Investment Bank as well as national, regional and private sources. By mid-2017, hundreds of initiatives had cropped up and started contributing to these goals and funding. The European Commission will use the results of the independent study – and of the public consultation that was held last year – to work with Member States to further improve the plan’s performance between now and 2020.

Air Quality Ministerial Summit

“This Commission has consistently said that it wishes to be ‘big on the big things’. And it doesn’t get bigger than the loss of life due to air pollution[…] As much as protecting our citizens is a key priority for President Juncker and the entire College of Commissioners, in Member States this need to become a key priority of the entire governments, of all Ministers concerned: be it Ministers for transport, energy, industry, agriculture or finance. Our shared credibility depends on it.” Commissioner Vella gave the following statement.

Ministers from 9 Member States convened today in Brussels upon the invite of Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella, in a final effort to find solutions to address the serious problem of air pollution in the European Union. The 9 Member States, namely the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom, face infringement procedures for exceeding agreed air pollution limits. At the meeting, Commissioner Vella called on Member States to finalise their submissions by the end of next week on how they intend to comply with EU law on air quality or else face legal action.

EU-Arctic to prevent unregulated fishing

“The commitment and leadership shown by all parties have made it possible to reach this historic agreement. It will fill an important gap in the international ocean governance framework and will safeguard fragile marine ecosystems for future generations.”  Said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.

The European Union, together with partners engaged in Arctic matters (Canada, China, the Kingdom of Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Korea, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States), last night succeeded in reaching an international agreement to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the Arctic high seas. That is, until sufficient scientific information to support the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks in the region is available. The Arctic region is warming at almost twice the global average rate, causing a change in the size and distribution of fish stocks. As a result, the Arctic high seas potentially become more attractive for commercial fisheries in the medium to long term. However, until present, most of the Arctic high seas were not covered by any international conservation and management regime. The agreement, reached in Washington DC at the fifth and final round of negotiations, will be a first step towards the creation of regional fisheries management organisations for the Central Arctic Ocean, to ensure that any future fishing is carried out sustainably. The agreement is fully in line with the European Union’s long-standing position – emphasised recently at the EU-hosted Our Ocean Conference in Malta in October – that no commercial fisheries should begin in the Arctic high seas before a science-based and precautionary management regime is in place. Sound stewardship of the high seas has a prominent place in the EU’s Arctic policy and Ocean Governance policy, as regards a responsible approach towards utilizing Arctic marine resources, while respecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

EU to ensure sustainable Atlantic tuna stocks

 “Our experience of recent years is that concerted efforts by all parties can secure rapid progress towards more sustainable fisheries. We now need to continue our work towards a long-term management regime for Eastern Bluefin tuna as proposed by the European Commission.” Said Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas, has concluded its Annual Meeting in Marrakesh on 14 – 21 November. Dominating the negotiations was the stock of Eastern Atlantic tuna for which, following a widely recognized improvement in their stock compared to a decade ago, ICCAT agreed to a gradual increase in the total allowed catches (TAC) reaching a maximum of 36,000 ton in 2020 (28,200t in 2018 and 32,240t in 2019).

The increase reflects the outcome of action led by the European Union and the sustained efforts by fishermen and the fishing industry, in the last decade.  Based on an EU-proposal, for the first time in ICCAT history, Harvest Control Rules were adopted for the Northern albacore and a quota increase of 20%. Harvest Control Rules are the latest generation of science-based approaches to effective fisheries management and provide guidelines on how much fishing can take place according to the state of the stock. Moreover, ICCAT adopted measures to freeze the fishing effort on the stock of Mediterranean albacore and adopted Recommendations reducing the TACs for Northern and Southern Atlantic swordfish, as tabled by the EU. Finally, important steps were taken to protect sharks in the North Atlantic, including the Norther shortfin mako. As member of ICCAT, the European Union is represented in the negotiations by the European Commission.

Commission publishes new Air Quality Index and Atlas

“Air pollution is an invisible killer, so the Air Quality Index is needed to inform European citizens on the state of the air they breathe in their own neighbourhood. We are working with cities, regions, countries and industry to tackle the sources of that pollution, which is a cocktail coming from factories, homes and fields, not only from transport.” Said EU cities. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

At the Clean Air Forum taking place today in Paris, the Commission launched a new Air Quality Index with the EU Environment Agency, which allows citizens to monitor air quality in real-time. The Commission also published an Air Quality Atlas that maps the origins of fine particulate matter, such as dust, smoke, soot, pollen and soil particles, in Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “In order to tackle air pollution we must first understand where it comes from. The Air Quality Atlas produced by the Joint Research Centre provides essential information on pollution sources for the European cities that are struggling with air quality. It will help cities to design air quality plans which focus on their most polluting activities.”

EU €550 million for health of oceans

“Three years ago I was asked by President Juncker to define the EU’s global ocean role. I think together we have delivered. Our policies on land, like our commitment to the circular economy and reduced plastic waste; and at sea, on marine pollution, on protected areas, and on harnessing the ocean’s clean energy, clearly demonstrate this. The European Union is earning respect and inspiring action across the planet”. Said Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

More than six billion euros committed by public and private actors to better manage our oceans at European Union-hosted conference in Malta.

The European Commission has announced over €550 million of EU-funded initiatives to tackle global oceans challenges, at the Our Ocean Conference 2017 in Malta, co-hosted by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The commitments announced in Malta made by the Commission and by other public and private actors from 112 countries around the world reached over €6 billion. The resources will be invested to strengthen the fight against marine pollution and enlarge protected areas, reinforce security of the oceans, foster blue economy initiatives and sustainable fisheries and intensify the EU efforts against climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030. Participants also announced the creation of new Marine Protected Areas spanning more than 2.5 million km², or more than half the size of the entire European Union.

The full list of over 400 commitments (36 from the EU, over 200 from third country governments, more than 100 from business and several others from NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organisations) are available online.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The European Commission has demonstrated with concrete pledges its strong commitment to the sustainability, security and prosperity of our oceans. If they are at risk, so are we, for the oceans nourish our planet and our people, and they connect us to our partners around the world.”

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The sea is a global common. It is Our Ocean because it belongs to humanity, to each and every human being. We all have a responsibility to preserve what’s common – to preserve it as a treasure and avoid that it turns into a threat. The European Union believes that a globalised world needs a more cooperative global governance. We believe in the power of diplomacy, we invest in it, we believe and invest in the power of common rules and international institutions. And it is difficult, actually impossible, to imagine a global governance without a cooperative oceans’ governance.”

Commissioner Neven Mimica said:“These two days have delivered on our Sustainable Development Goals ocean commitments. Small-scale fishermen around the world have a better chance of fishing safely, legally, and sustainably. Food chains are more secure. Coastal areas more protected. We are acting on the climate challenge. For many of our developing country partners, sustainable ocean governance is a question of survival. The road ahead is still long, but we are moving in the right direction.”

The Our Ocean Conference has brought together public and private actors from six continents, who are collectively committed to the cause of better ocean governance and the sustainable use of the oceans. EU commitments reach far beyond its geographical region, to support sustainable international ocean use worldwide, focusing in particular on developing countries.

For the first time, the Conference gathered significant commitments from the private sector, including Airbus, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Royal Caribbean Cruises, AXA, Sky and others.

Commitments will be tracked and reported at the next Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia in 2018.

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